“Here at Milk and Cream, we sell cereal, ice cream, and sweets; but more importantly, we sell a bit of nostalgia.”
“At first, this location was actually a bike shop that me and my best friends owned. Times changed and the industry progressed; we found ourselves closing shop after seven successful years. However, what we did not let go of was our friendship and desire to work together and to work for ourselves. Creating Milk and Cream was our way of continuing that dream, through our mutual love of cereal.”
Cory Ng is one of the three owners of Milk and Cream, a cereal bar located in Chinatown. Like his cereal bar, Cory was also born and raised in Chinatown, something that he takes a lot of pride in. Cory was always, and still is, in love with the food centric-ness of his neighborhood. In his opinion, the beauty of Chinatown can be found in its diverse and extremely affordable food options. Staying true to this point of view and his love for cereal, Cory hopes Milk and Cream will be a positive addition to the blue print of his childhood neighborhood.
“Cereal will always be the main inspiration for us at Milk and Cream. The reason we love cereal so much is because it resonates with everyone from every culture. For many people, it was probably the first thing that they ‘cooked and prepared’. We don’t just want our products to taste good; we want to bring back a bit of that childhood nostalgia with an updated twist.”
This philosophy of childhood nostalgia is very evident in the core of Milk and Cream, from their menu to their decor. Every item on the menu integrates the classic cereal that everyone has come to love from his or her childhood. The interior setup of Milk and Cream is almost that of a bar, except you don’t need ID to get in. The space is set with different TV screens on the wall, each playing classic cartoons such as Johnny Bravo and Teen Titans. The episodes are hand picked by Cory and his team to highlight their favorite moments from their childhood shows. Cory described Milk and Cream as “the bar you wish you had as a kid.” Instead of sports, you have cartoons. Instead of alcohol, you have cereal inspired treats. Instead of bartenders, you have cereal experts who are just as interested in connecting with you as they are in your crazy cereal combinations. The bar-like design of the interior also lends to the Milk and Cream experience for the customer. Many customers love sitting around the bar because they get to see their cereal inspired creations come to life, step by step.
“I’d love to tell you that we have a step-by-step creative process…but we don’t. It’s a lot of throwing ideas at each other and spit balling. It can get hectic but this is also where the fun is. I will say though, that the three factors that always come up during the creative process is the customer, creating nostalgia, and of course, cereal. We love to create a story or theme with a product. That ensures that we are making products with purpose and not just throwing random things together and praying for the best.”
Much like Milk and Cream’s modern approach towards treats, Cory’s story is also very progressive. Like many others his age in Chinatown, Cory’s parents were immigrants who had dreams of a better life for their kids. This included the standard path of going to college, getting a degree, and finally getting a job. However, this did not happen for Cory. Despite not being able to go down the path that his parents wanted him to, Cory did not give up his desire to make his parents proud. In fact, it was this setback that made Cory truly appreciate his parents more. Cory realized that his parents, being immigrants, did not have as many choices and opportunities as he did; everything they did for him, they gave it their all. With this, Cory persevered and set out to find his own path and his own way of making his family proud, on his own terms. Even to this day, Cory credits his drive and work ethic to his family, who provided him with support and love, and his neighborhood, which provided him with his hustler mentality and sense of community.
“I love Chinatown; always have and always will. With Milk and Cream, the team and I really strive to make something that will benefit the neighborhood. Chinatown is an amazing neighborhood and very deserving of the culinary spotlight. I hope Milk And Cream brings people who come to appreciate Chinatown for all it has to offer. For me, the perfect situation would be for a Milk and Cream customer to come into Chinatown, visit many vendors and take it all in, and ending it on a sweet note here at our cereal bar. That way, all of us here in the neighborhood can have a chance as prospering. This sense of community was instilled into me as a kid in Chinatown and I hope to embody it and keep this sense of community alive, one treat at a time.”